SF Gay Bar Gains Landmark Status
is so historic:
In 1972, when Mary Ellen Cunha and Peggy Forster threw open the doors and uncovered the windows at Twin Peaks Tavern on the corner of Castro and Market streets, they didn't know they were making history. But four decades later, the bar that has sat both literally and figuratively at the center of San Francisco's gay rights movement and community is now a historic landmark. Twin Peaks Tavern, which first opened in 1935 but was purchased by Cunha and Forster in 1971, is believed to be the first gay bar in the nation to feature full-length, open plate glass windows that let its patrons look out, and more importantly, the public look in. The lesbian friends, known to most regulars as "the girls," opened the bar to the world at a time when many gays still feared losing their jobs or being socially ostracized if their sexual orientation was revealed. It has now survived for 40 years as one of the Castro district's most memorable and welcoming establishments.